Sunday, May 3, 2015

IT WAS BOUND TO HAPPEN


Yep!  They say a beekeeper will always remember his or her first sting.

It was yesterday at the Persephone hive.  I was putting the excluder between the honey super and brood box.  I didn't want to use the smoker because it was going to just be a quick in and out and I didn't want to upset the hives more than they would be but in retrospect, smoke would have been good.  Anyway, I had my bee suit on, but I still don't have the proper gloves.  I was wearing some gloves that have a latex coating on the bottom and fabric on the top.  I guess I wasn't quick enough and she popped me in the top of my hand, right through the fabric.

Image courtesy of Skripps.org
It hurt, I won't lie, but it was quick, like the needle when getting a shot.  It wasn't her fault, she was just doing her job.  I didn't panic, or flail about...I did however use a couple of profanities that I won't repeat here...but I kept working, gently but quickly, and got the hive finished and retreated to the porch.  The pain lasted for just a few minutes, which was unexpected (I thought it would be longer).  I had no swelling, no reaction, and now I can't even tell where it was.  I guess, for me anyway, that's a good thing to know, as it shows I didn't have a reaction to the venom.

Now I am going online looking for "proper" bee gloves.

It's been a good weekend (other than this, ha) but I'm tired for sure.  More updates during the week but I'll catch up on comments later tonight.

Hope you had a great weekend!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

BEE QUOTE WITH PICTURE

William Longgood bee quote
Last year, I used a bee photo that I took and put a nice quote with it, you can see that result HERE.

I did it again but guess what this is?  It's one of our girls!  Last year when I took the other bee picture, it was a random bee from somewhere else.  This lady was on a bloom right near the hives so she's one of ours.  

How fun to think that now the bees on our farm doing their thing are bees that we are raising.  

Isn't she beeutiful?  


A SATISFYING BREAKFAST TO START THE DAY

Some hearty breakfast before heading off to the farm.  I woke up and 2nd Man had made breakfast.  I smelled bacon.  Is there any better way to wake up?  

I don't think so, ha.  
Steel cut oats with bacon 
This is a big bowl of steel cut oats and bacon.  Oh yeah, and it's topped off with some fresh maple syrup from our RECENT MAPLE gift package!

After this satisfying breakfast, as this posts of course, I'm off to get some much needed, long delayed yard work done.  Thursday, when I did the bee check with my half day off, I also edged around all the main areas, house, garden fence, driveway trees, fence line, barns, fruit trees, etc.  I like doing the edging first so that when I mow right up next to it, it magically looks perfect!  


Also going to give the bees their first real hive checks.  Need to see what's going on, check for eggs, larvae, comb building, mites, etc.  Fingers crossed.  

It's a beautiful weekend...cool, sunny, clear.  I can't wait!

Friday, May 1, 2015

SEEING DOUBLE AND BEE UPDATE

Twin Calves
One of my best friends, "R", sent us this picture.  This is one of his father's cows at their ranch.  This lovely lady just had twin girls!  What a cute pair of babies they are!  It's definitely Spring, as there are a few new babies at the neighbors' farm next to ours as well.  Love to see the babies of any animal.

Yesterday the bees were fine. I  filled the feeders and took a peak inside.  It all looked good and they were building comb and hopefully the queens are laying eggs and the next generation is being created.

Langstroth Bee Hive
There were bees coming and going at the entrances.  A couple of you left comments here and then I saw on Leigh's blog about how to watch for beeS returning with pollen that they had gathered.  I watched and saw several of them coming in loaded up with pollen so I hope that means good things are happening deep inside the hive.  This weekend I'll be removing the excluder placed on the bottom and putting it between the honey super and the brood box, and then putting the frames in the one super. 

More later!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

FLOWER GARDEN, INSPIRATION THURSDAY

Flower garden bed, image via PINTEREST
Since we decided to focus on adding color to the farm this Spring/Summer instead of veggies CLICK HERE to read about that if you missed it, we are looking online for inspiration.  We found this and just love the pop of multicolor in this photo.  It's so neat the way it is just a grouping like this, not lined up in a neat row, not in a dedicated bed, instead it's just a spot where they planted a bunch of flowering plants (side note, I love the pasture behind but I digress).

Hope you are having a great day. Today, I'm taking another 1/2 day for 'bee check'.  I swear I have the greatest boss ever..."Hey, would it be OK if I took a half day off to go check on the bees?  Sure, sounds fine!"  

I hope to also get the edging done before the weekend, it's supposed to be clear and beautiful and best of all, dry!

Be inspired... 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A BIRD IN THE CAN


Remember when I blogged HERE about my friend "R" finding the Creamy Crustene metal can at an estate sale?  Well the other night we went to dinner and he gave it me as a belated gift for my birthday!

Creamy Crustene
So here it is in its new home at the farm, up on top of the hutch in the kitchen.  It just needed a bit of cleaning and when I opened it, there was a bunch of tissue paper that I pulled out to throw away.  Wrapped inside was a little red bird, most likely a Christmas ornament.  I figured it found it's way to us so...


...we clipped it to a basket on the other end of the kitchen hutch and now it adds a little pop of color. We have cardinals at the farm so it only seems fitting that this one has a home in our house.  

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

TAMING WILDFLOWERS BOOK REVIEW

Recently, I received a wonderful book for review.  


Living in Texas, wildflowers are a way of life here.  In fact, as I read this book, the wildflowers are in bloom all around us, a riot of color and texture.  We also have some newly cleared areas on the property and the thought of a wildflower garden is high on our list.  Needless to say, this book was perfect timing.



The book is smallish in size (dimensions) but the author somehow packs a LOT of information into that footprint.  It is over 200 pages long and is divided up into 8 chapters.  Miriam takes the reader through all aspects of wildflowers, their relationship to us, how to care for them, propagation, and so on.

As many as 60 different wildflower species are referenced in the book.  Is this the definitive book on all wildflowers?  No, but with hundreds of species, it needs to be pared down to the essentials and she has done that very well.  Details on each include soil, height, water, light, bloom time, native to, etc.  It's a wealth of information.


As if that wasn't enough, she has even added a section devoted to using wildflowers in decorations, complete with DIY instructions for various items, including this wildflower wreath that we SO want to do next year.  An interesting surprise at the very end of the book are a few pages devoted to weddings featuring wildflowers, again complete with DIY steps to create the items.  Miriam Goldberger and her husband own a business called "Wildflower Farm" where wildflowers and native grasses are their passion.  It's a passion born out in the pages of this book and it's always nice to see someone whose love for a topic is so evident in the book that they create.  The photography is beautiful and this could even be a great bedside book in a guest room to dazzle your guests with some gorgeous flowers.  I consider it part reference book and part coffee table book.  A great gift for anyone who loves flowers and/or wants to create their own wildflower meadow in their yard.

Please visit their website linked above.  While I was perusing it, I found a section on creating a wildflower meadow in clay soil which is what we have here at the farm!  We will definitely be going back to the site to see what we can learn about creating something like that on our property.

You can purchase the book here via Amazon: Taming Wildflowers

As a side note, this book is published by an amazing company called St. Lynn's Press.  They have a wide variety of books in the gardening, self sufficiency, and slow and local lifestyles topics.  In my interaction with them, I found them to be kind, easy to work with and just all around wonderful.  A great, small publishing company worthy of supporting.

Thank you St. Lynn's and especially thank you Miriam Goldberger for bringing wildflowers to life, in more ways than one!


Monday, April 27, 2015

DECISIONS DECISIONS

Sometimes we have to make the tough decisions.  Having this property and only being able to do it on a part time basis means that we have to really look at what we focus our time/effort/money on.  Saturday/Sunday for example was spent cleaning up limbs and of course it was too wet to mow so once again, we are behind on that.  So we decided to look back at our list of of things to do at the farm and sat down to focus on priorities...

What do we need to work on most of all?
What will have the biggest impact?
What is most important for the future?



We have also, in the course of getting some things done on that list (clearing the new areas for example), created new opportunities (and challenges) that weren't even on it to begin with.


The weather has played a significant role in this year's decision making process as well.  I like to keep records of the weather and out of the first three months of this year, twelve weeks, we only had five weeks that we could get to the farm and work outside.  The rest of the time it was raining and/or too cold.  

We made the most of the time we had of course, but when you add in that one of those weeks was during the barn construction, that left us with exactly four weekends we had to work with.  April has been hit and miss too, this weekend another wash out, nothing could be done outside so once again, we're working from behind.


Our primary long term goal is to get the infrastructure in place now so that we can move out there in a few years and have all the hard stuff done (and enjoy the day to day keep up).  The last couple of years, the big thing we focused on was the garden area because of course, food!  First clearing the space for it (it was a jungle), then building the raised beds, then fencing it all in, then getting water to it, and finally getting it ready for growing with mulch, soil, etc.  That's all been done now and last year, using only a few of the beds to start, we had a nice first experience.  This year though, we have not even been able to get the garden beds weeded yet because of focusing on other things, the barns, the bees, the land clearing, etc...and it's getting too late for that now...

Now we have the bees.  
Now we have extra "new" space that's currently just dirt.  
We also have no flowers (and you all know how much I love want flowers).

So for this season, we have decided that we will skip a Spring garden.  Instead, we're going to focus our Spring and Summer time on the bees of course, that will be a priority, and then getting more of the property cleaned up, trimming trees, clearing some brushy areas, and doing things to improve the look of the yard around the house.  Building flower beds and planting them with flowers, working on outdoor seating areas so people will have places to sit, a fire pit area for the Fall, getting the grills put up, etc. 

Without having to work on keeping up with the garden, we can focus on these other areas of the yard that we have neglected. The garden is there and the hard part is done (other than weeding and more mulch of course).  It's not going anywhere so it's time to start on the rest of what we call "curb appeal"...even though our 'curb' is several acres away, LOL.  

That's not to say we won't have food growing.  We're still going to do herbs, and the sweet potatoes, and we might throw a few veggie plants in some containers and see what happens, it just won't be the chief focus this Spring.

Do you ever change your plans from what you were expecting to do?